SEO Blog Post Checklist: Don’t Hit Publish Just Yet

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Ever hit “publish” on a blog post, only to be haunted by the feeling that you’ve missed something? It’s like forgetting to lock the front door, you can’t shake off the worry.

But fret no more – I got you covered! In this post, you’ll learn to ensure YOUR posts give those search engines a reason to adore your content. And don’t worry, I’m not going beat around the bush with 2000 words before I get to the good stuff.


Here is a clear and actionable checklist to make sure your blog post follows SEO best practices in 2023:

SEO Criteria Action  
1. Search Intent Does your content provide what the user is looking for?
2. Title Does it include the primary keyword?
Is it the optimal length?
3. Meta Description Does it include the primary keyword?
Is it the optimal length?
4. Headings & Subheadings Do you use proper headings & subheadings to structure your content?
5. Keyword Placement Is your primary keyword in the first paragraph?
Is your primary keyword twice in the first four paragraphs?
Is your primary keyword in at least one subheading?
Is your primary keyword in the conclusion?
6. Paragraph Length Are your paragraphs 3 sentences or less?
7. Featured Image Have you added a suitable featured image?  ✔
8. Blog Images Have you added relevant blog images with alt text?
9. Table of Contents Have you added a Table of Contents for easy navigation?
10. URL Is your primary keyword included in the URL?
11. External Links Have you included relevant external links?  ✔
12. Internal Links Have you included internal links to relevant content within your site?  ✔
13. Pros & Cons If applicable, have you listed the pros and cons?
14. Call-To-Action (CTA) Have you included compelling CTAs?
15. Key Takeaways Have you summarized the main points of your content?
16. Category Have you assigned the right category to your post?
17. Content Score Is your content score above 70?
If you have ticked all boxes, you’re good to go!

This clear SEO checklist should give you a good starting point to know whether your new blog post is geared up to conquer the Google Search Rankings.

However, if you still wish for a more comprehensive breakdown – once more, I’ll be in your corner. Just stay with me as we dissect each and every on-page SEO criteria on this list in the next sections to avoid common blogging mistakes.

In-Depth SEO Blog Post Checklist: Before Publishing

Before releasing your content to the world , ensure you optimize your blog post for top-notch performance on the search engine results page. This is critical if you want to have more eye-balls on your blog content.
Here are a few things to consider when it comes to SEO-friendly blogging.

1. Satisfy The Search Intent

Prior to going live, even prior to creating your content, you have to have the query’s search intent decoded. Otherwise, you are flying blindfolded with a slim chance to rank high in search results.

The search intent also known as ‘user intent’ is the search behind the search. People think something in their head and go on to type this very thought into Google in the hopes to find an answer. This is exactly where you take the stage. But in order to be in the limelight, you need to have what the viewers are looking for.

Now strictly ask yourself:

  • Does your content has what the user wants?
  • Does it have the answers to their questions?
  • Does it provide the solution to their problem?

Be honest. If you get this wrong, you might never rank for the desired keyword you are targeting.
To give you a healthy sense of what this is all about, here is an example of missing the search intent:

Let’s assume, you have a travel blog and you are creating a blog post that is targeting the keyword “Best Cameras for Travel Photography” to attract readers who are looking for camera recommendations for their travel adventures.

However, your post missed the intent and solely focused on technical stuff and features of cameras without addressing their suitability for travel photography. While the information you provide might be accurate, it fails to emphasize on the very thing globetrotters came for: How can these cameras enlighten their travel adventure?

As a result, your content fails to resonate with the audience, and visitors quickly leave your page to find more relevant information elsewhere. Your bounce rate is high, engagement is low, and your content doesn’t fulfill the actual needs of users looking for camera suggestions for their travels. Therefore, your post will enter a slow downward spiral in the rankings.

Lesson learned: ALWAYS fulfill the Search Intent!

2. Optimize Your Title

Your title is the initial point of contact. This goes without to say that it should tell the reader exactly what your post is about. Make sure your title is compelling and evokes the interest to dive into your content. An excellent way to pull this off is by addressing the search intent right in your blog post title.

For Example: Suppose you’re targeting the keyword “quick dinner recipes”.
Search Intent: Users are looking for dinner recipes that are simple and can be prepared quickly.
Title with Addressed Search Intent: “10 Delicious Dinner Recipes Ready in 30 Minutes or Less”

As we’re talking about writing SEO-friendly blog posts, your title has to be optimized for search engines too.
Only use one keyword per title. Do not stuff unneeded keywords!

Another good practice is to keep an optimal length. I recommend the title to be 50-60 characters long.
It’s important to note that you should not make it too long, otherwise it could be cut off in the search results.
You can use the Moz title tag preview tool to check if your title is displayed properly.

Moz title tag preview tool to check if your title is displayed properly

Another good practice is to front-load your target keyword. This basically means that you should start with the desired keyword first, like I did with this post.

The keyword that I am targeting is “seo blog post checklist” and as you can see: My title starts with this exact term.

Remember that it won’t always make sense to start with your keyword. But if it’s applicable then go for it.

You can use a title generator to come up with compelling headlines.

3. Optimize Your Meta Description

Your meta description gives a sneak peek into what your post is about. Think of it like a teaser that tells readers what’s coming up. As it is only displayed in the SERP as a brief snippet, you have one chance to shine, one opportunity to convince the people you have what they want. So make it good!

To make it good and don’t forget SEO purposes, make sure you:

  • use persuasive copy to entice them to click
  • address search intent
  • include the primary keyword
  • keep an optimal length of about 130-160 characters

4. Structure Your Content With Headings & Subheading

Both your readers and search engines like it organized. They want to be able to quickly skim through your post if needed. To make your content a breeze to read, you have to use headings and subheadings. They are the formatting heroes that make your content easy to digest and navigate.

When it comes to headings & subheadings you have to:

  • Create hierarchy and organization: Use a clear hierarchy of headings. Your main title is the H1 heading, followed by H2, H3, and so on. This visually organizes your content and helps both readers and search engines understand the structure.
  • Use a Logical Flow: Each heading should represent a new section or topic in your content. Use H2 for main sections and H3 for subsections. This creates a logical flow that guides readers through your content.

5. Place Your Primary Keyword Right

In order for you to optimize your blog post for SEO, it goes without a doubt that you have to incorporate the desired keyword several times throughout your content. But how do we know how often we should include the keyword and where to place them? What is the best keyword SEO strategy?

While there is no perfect formula, I’ve identified what seems to work best for me and apparently a lot of other bloggers follow a similar framework:

  • Include the primary keyword once in your first paragraph
  • And twice in the first 100 words
  • Your primary keyword should be in at least one subheading
  • And once in your conclusion

Another factor to consider is keyword density:
Don’t unnecessarily stuff your keyword. A lot of SEOs recommend the practice of 1-2%. This means if you have an article of 2000 words, you should include your primary keyword around 10-20 times.

6. Use Short Paragraphs For Better Readability

Break up your text! this is crucial to keep readers engaged. No one likes to bite through a massive block of text. Use paragraphs of 3-5 sentences max. Make it easy to digest.

Use an appealing featured image that accurately represents your content and gives your blog post the attention it deserves.

8. Add Relevant Blog Images With Alt Text

Publishers that feature visual content grow traffic 12 times faster than those who don’t. You surely don’t want to miss on that. Include relevant images that support your content and make it easy for readers to process the information on your long blog post. In fact, the human brain processes images 60.000 times faster than text.

And don’t forget to provide Alternative Texts for every blog image so Google can understand what your image is about.

Simple tips to write good Alt Text:

  • Keep alt text short
  • Be specific in your description
  • Add context
  • Avoid spelling mistakes
  • Avoid using the phrase “image of” or “picture of”

9. Add Table of Contents For Easy Navigation

Having a table of contents can help the reader to swiftly navigate and skim through your content, if wanted.
Sometimes people only look for specific information on a post. A ToC makes it easy to find that certain section quickly.

10. Construct Your URL SEO-friendly

A well-constructed URL can help both readers and search engines better understand what your page is about. A proper URL looks something like this:

URL structure of a blog post on
  • Include the primary keyword
  • Make it unique and short
  • Use hyphens to separate the words
  • URL should always stay the same

An SEO-optimized blog post can not miss having external links to relevant pages that support the content. Connecting your material to credible sources can amp up your authority as well as provide additional value to the reader.

For SEO optimization, always place the link on relevant anchor text. When the reader clicks on a link, they want to be taken to something they expect when they read the anchor text.

Make your blog content have at least 3 external links that are relevant to your post, but do not include too many of them.

Internal links play an important role in SEO. An internal linking structure connects all the relevant dots and can help organizing your site. Additionally, it creates a better user experience for your readers, helping them to seamlessly flow from one content to related resources.

And the cream of the crop: They can help transfer some “link juice” to other pages on your site.

Link to at least 3 relevant pages on your site, but don’t over-do it and only include them if it makes sense.

Tip: If you want to get the most out of facilitating the “link power” to a specific page, try to incorporate the internal link at the beginning of your content.

13. List Pros & Cons

If you are writing a transactional piece of content and the purpose of your blog post is to influence buying decisions, then you have to list the pros & cons of the product you are recommending. This is what potential customers are looking for when researching a product. Don’t keep it from them.

14. Include Compelling Call-To-Actions (CTA)

People are lazy and always look for the path of least resistance. If you tell them to check something out, but don’t include a CTA button to make it easy for them, chances are: they will not check it out, even if they are actually interested.

If applicable, always include compelling Call-To-Actions!

15. Summarize Your Content & Provide Key Takeaways

In order to make a complete blog post, you have to have a ‘conclusion’ section. To wrap up your content, briefly summarize the key takeaways within your blog. 

Don’t forget to include your primary keyword here.

16. Assign The Right Category

This is pretty self-explanatory. But to follow a complete SEO blog post checklist, don’t forget to assign the right category to your post.

17. Optimize Your Content Score

Last, but certainly not least: Optimize your post in terms of content score. 

You can use a SEO tool like SurferSEO or NeuronWriter to help you rock your blog content and skyrocket the traffic to your site. They provide diverse features to help you edit various elements of your post, do keyword research, analyze top-performing competitors and provide LSI keyword recommendations.

These content optimization tools usually assign your content a score between 0 and 100.
Aim to optimize your post to a score of at least 70.

Wrap Up

And there you have it—your blog post optimization journey is complete! By following this SEO checklist for your blog, you’ve armed yourself with the tools to ensure your content is set to climb the Google Search Rankings. Remember, the key to a stellar online presence is to always satisfy the user’s search intent. Make every word count, and address their needs head-on.

Your blog is your platform, your voice. You want it to shine, reach its audience, and leave a lasting impact. This SEO checklist to optimize a blog is your roadmap to achieving just that. 

So, whether you’re an experienced blogger or just starting out, remember: You want your blog to not just exist, but to thrive. And to do that, you want your post to be well optimized every single time you hit that “publish” button. So go ahead, follow this SEO checklist, and watch your content soar in the digital realm.

Happy blogging!


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